Home Lawsuits Iowa Aims to Ban Cancer Causing AFFF: Are There Alternatives to Count...

Iowa Aims to Ban Cancer Causing AFFF: Are There Alternatives to Count On? 

When you watch a firefighter walking into a massive fire site with their protective gear on and using fire-extinguishing tools, you certainly have a heroic feeling. It’s natural to feel that they are genuine heroes and that their lives are nothing less than a glorious one filled with bravado and gumption. While it is true, there is a dark truth to their profession that many aren’t aware of.

The firefighter foam, or AFFF, they use to reduce untamed fires in a building or any other site is the root cause of their struggles and woes. This is a toxic foam that has PFAS (Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances), which is a cluster of harmful chemicals that eventually cause harm to a firefighter’s health. AFFF exposure has resulted in kidney, prostate, and testicular cancer, and other severe ailments among firefighters.

PFAS is also called ‘forever chemicals,’ which indicates that they don’t dissolve and remain in the environment and human body. As a result, it acts as a carcinogen and results in various kinds of cancer and other health hazards. In this article, we will discuss why places like Iowa have decided to ban AFFF and whether there are any safe alternatives to the foam.

Iowa Lawmakers Intend to Ban AFFF Because of Cancer Risks

Most firefighters who have suffered because of PFAS exposure have filed an AFFF foam lawsuit. And since the number of cases has increased in the past few years, it is necessary to ban this chemical and look for safer alternatives.

In February 2024, AboutLawsuits.com reported that an Iowa Senate Bill had proposed that it is necessary to ban AFFF in the state because of cancer and water contamination risks associated with the toxic chemicals.

The Senate File 2229 was introduced on February 6th. Under the bill, the municipalities, county airports, and fire departments are prohibited from acquiring or buying AFFF, after January 1st, 2026.

According to state officials, the primary sources of water contamination around the county were because of the use of AFFF products. State firefighter officials said earlier this year in an Iowa Senate subcommittee hearing that there are close to eight state firefighters taking treatment for cancer because of PFAS exposure.

But the airport officials have also mentioned that this drastic change might be very costly. They have raised the concern that to expect a massive change by 2026 can be financially taxing, but not impossible. That aside, the critics are also here to question the efficacy of the alternatives of the foam along with its availability and cost-effectiveness.

The Alternatives To AFFF

Is it necessary to count on AFFF alternatives at the earliest? The answer is a resounding yes. TorHoerman Law states that the AFFF litigation is ongoing. According to the April 2024 lawsuit update, 7,739 new cases are pending. Compared to the number of cases reported in March 2024, it’s a significant increase of 568 cases.

Hence, it is evident that the need for safe and less harmful alternatives is essential. A few options to count on are:

Fluorine-Free Foams

Also known as F3, fluorine-free foams are the latest buzz for eco-friendly options for AFFF alternatives. The foam doesn’t have fluorinated surfactants and can effectively reduce the risks of health hazards and environmental contamination.

They can also tame the massive Class B fires. Today, this alternative is being looked upon as an outstanding firefighting foam alternative. Many fire departments located globally are acknowledging its benefits and are gradually making it their go-to tool for fire suppression.

Water Mist Systems

Leveraging the potency of minute water droplets, the water mist system proves to be an effective way to suppress fires. The diminutive droplet size can amplify the surface area that is accessible for heat absorption. As a result, this process is becoming prominent as an AFFF alternative.

Additionally, this process is also versatile, and it proves its mettle against an array of fire classes, which comprises Class A, B, C, and even K fires. The mist shines bright mostly in enclosed spaces such as buildings and they can quickly reduce the temperature and effectively displace oxygen. That is effective in snuffing out the dangerous flames with great speed.


It’s an advanced water additive that can morph water into a gel-like warrior adding to its fire-fighting capacity. The gel can cling to the surface, thereby creating a secure layer and stopping the fire from advancing. Since it is non-toxic and biodegradable, it proves to be a greener alternative to firefighter foam.

In conclusion, AFFF exposure is fatal for human health. The proof of this can be seen in the health hazards faced by the firefighters. As a result, Iowa decided to ban the use of this toxic foam and look for safer alternatives. One can only wish that this initiative is carried on by other states as well, so that the side effects of AFFF can be erased globally.


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